PEACEFUL PRAIRIE: Even if you've lived in the Golden State your entire life, or a very long time, and you've come to know all of the wonders it holds, it can still be a bit discombobulating to hear about a stretch of nature that we often associate with different parts of the country or world. The word "prairie" and "California" don't often appear in the same sentence, but, of course, our big state is indeed home to some prairie goodness. And come springtime, those prairies do what prairies elsewhere famously do: They come alive with small, colorful flowers and buzzy, living things. Jepson Prairie Preserve, which is not too far from the Bay Area, is about ten miles south of Dixon. Easily reachable, and highly interesting to boot: The wild spread is described as being "the premier -- and one of the few remaining -- vernal pool habitats and native bunchgrass prairies in California." And when the winter rains come, and give Jepson a dousing or two, very bright and sweet spring flowers follow.
FLOWER WALKS: There are a number of Saturday strolls into the prairie to check out the flowers and the beasties, too -- "aquatic critters" are part of this prairie's scene. Walks happen every Saturday and Sunday from March 16 through May 12. There's no cost, but, of course, donations help out. Oh, and the petals you'll see? Meadowfoam, yellow carpet, and miniature lupine. We can feel the day-to-day, horn-honky stress fleeing now.